Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Lego Monster

We have in-the-middle-of-the-night lore in our children's lives, don't we?  There's the Tooth Fairy.  There's Santa Claus.  Or maybe St. Niklaus.

We have the Lego Monster at our house.

Wolfie likes to follow the instructions and build his complicated Lego spaceships and put them on display on top of his dresser and bookcase.  He also likes to invent things with the other gazillion pieces from his smaller sets which have all been dumped into one giant tub.  But there are a few sets from a few prime collections (Star Wars, Alien Conquest, Atlantis to name a few) that he likes to keep in designated bins.  And like I said, there are a few prime spaceships that he likes to keep on display.

That is...until the Lego Monster gets them.

The Lego Monster visits Wolfie's room in the middle of the night and methodically disassembles one of his spaceships but then conveniently puts all of the pieces in a big zippered baggie.

To Wolfie's delight, he must build his favorite spaceship again.

The Lego Monster doesn't visit that often. I mean, it's not a nightly thing. But when he, I mean it, strikes, it's pretty special.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

the orchard (and other things I didn't do as a kid during fall)

Okay, maybe I don't really want this to be a post about things I didn't get to do as a kid.  But that is a sentiment that struck me as I chaperoned Tulip's kindergarten class trip to County Line Orchard.  I picked apples off of trees only once in my life prior to having children.  Once.  It was a field trip and somewhere in my mother's house is a picture of me and my 5th grade class standing in front of the sign for the orchard.

We have several pictures of our own children at various orchards.  Is this something that just wasn't done in the 70's?

Also, I raked leaves when I got home to make the leaf jumping pile huger.  And then it hit me - I didn't jump in leaves as a kid either.  We had two massive, and I mean massive, pine trees in my front lawn growing up.  I don't know what variety of pine tree they were except that they shed needles that hurt your feet when you stepped on them and they dropped pine cones.  Not soft, slender, corncob shaped pine cones.  Very hard triangle shaped pine cones.  The type of pine cones that are perfect for spray paint and dipping in glitter.

Anyway, there was no raking of leaves and jumping into leaf piles when I was a kid.

But enough about me.

As parents, we prefer Garwood's.  It's a bit rough around the edges and I suppose that's why we like it. County Line Orchard is a well-oiled field trip hosting machine, let me tell you.  Here's the thing that is so brilliant about County Line Orchard (in terms of hosting field trips, that is): the gutters.

Yes.  Gutters.

When the trailer brought the class to the apple picking row of trees, we were told that all the trees were bare.  And this was true.  Then our tour guide told us that last night while we were sleeping, it rained at County Line Orchard.  It rained apples!  (Clever, right?)  And to catch all those apples falling out of the sky, they had to install gutters in the apple trees.

Yes.  Gutters!  The children were able to easily pick apples out of the gutters.  Well, not that easy.  It still had to be a bit of a challenge.  An event.

It was interesting to chit-chat with the other chaperone moms (there were dads there too, of course) and to hear them mention their favorite orchard or pumpkin patch.  Places where they have started family traditions or have been carrying on old traditions.

What's yours?

Friday, September 14, 2012

When it's too much

I have an all boys class this year.  Uh huh, all boys.  Many of them are really into football and yesterday I said, "If you were on teams, the team winning points for listening and following directions would be these guys" as I gestured to a few that were listening to me amongst the rowdiest of, well, an all boys class.  So then they got all excited about forming teams so today we did.  Three captains were randomly selected and they picked their teams.  Then each team was instructed to create a team name, a team mascot, and brainstorm a list of rules, activities, and behaviors that would earn them points or deductions.  It was all about the boys.  I was giving them tons of freedom and tons of choice (within structure, of course).


And they started to whine.  I realized that an all boys class would never imagine being given this much freedom and choice.  Many of these particular boys were probably never given this much freedom and choice.  It was just too much to take in.  Maybe they were a little unsure.  Maybe even a little scared to trust themselves.  Maybe they were not used to this type of learning environment and their whining was really their way of asking me to just do it all for them.

Then there are my own young children.  Tonight as we read books before bed, Tulip began to flop around the way she does when she's tired.  When she was a toddler, I used to say that she gets clumsy when she's sleepy.  Tonight I watched the way she was so fidgety and restless and floppy and wild and realized, um, it's the Friday night after a whole week of going to school all day.  The girl was exhausted.  And here I was reading her a book and expecting her to be cognizant of the story and our routine.  It was just too much.  She was begging me for permission to just let her shut down.  Her wild floppiness is her way of communicating to me, "Mama, just send me to bed.  I can't do any more."

Myself?  Sometimes I catch myself fantasizing about having someone else's job.  Someone at the store. A cashier or something.  Some job where I show up, my boss tells me exactly what to do, and I do that one task for a few hours.  I get to talk to some people and then they are on their merry way and I get to perform the same task again.  Safety.  Sometimes I even think about a job where I am supposed to only work with objects, not people.  Which is so unlike me so I must be really really exhausted and stressed with my work when I have this fantasy.  But sometimes the thought of taking objects from the place where they do not belong and arranging them attractively in a new place where they do belong is a very appealing job description.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I've Done...

The phone rang and as soon as I heard my husband say "Hi" on the other end, I began walking, briskly, to the calendar.  I had just sent him to take Tulip (and the other kids) to soccer practice and I was sure that he was calling because there was no soccer practice.  I had to double check.

It was all good.

I have been known to, on more than one occasion, take my family or a friend to an event that was not there.  Wrong day.  Wrong time.

I've done other things too.

Please enjoy my piece in the May 2012 Listen To Your Mother Show.  The video was released today and it has been such a treat for me to "see" my friends on stage again.  And, it's a hoot to watch myself and think, "Oh my, I said that?"  At least I didn't sing Jingle Farts.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I took Luna to the potty at a store.  When we use a public potty, I like to wipe off the seat with some toilet paper before she sits on it.  While I was doing this, she asked me if she could do this task.

"No, I'll do it for you, sweetie."


Now, if I were to say the truth which is that I don't want her to touch the toilet seat she would immediately reach out and caress the toilet seat while grinning at me.  So I don't say that.

Instead I say, "Because it's mama's job to wipe the toilet seat for you."

"But mama!  Don't you know that I'm the best toilet seat cleaner ever?  Don't you know that?!"

This is Luna logic.


A few days ago, Wolfie was trying some new food.  Ravioli.  He said:
"If there was a chart that had I Like It and I Don't Like It and I Don't Really Think It's My Favorite But I'll Still Eat It on it, it would be that."

That's Wolfie logic.


Recently I was having a bad day.  And I hollered.  My words just came out louder than necessary.  It tears me up when I do this.  I am extremely apologetic afterwards.

I told Tulip that I was sorry that I hollered so much.  She said it was okay and she gave me such sweet hugs.

I said, "Even Mama makes mistakes sometimes.  But you know what's so great about my life?  I..."

"...have wonderful children who love you," she finished for me.

That's Tulip logic.